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Lagos, Bayelsa and Rivers May No Longer Exist In 50 Years As A Result Of Climate Change If Nothing Is Done – OECD, 2007.

October 7, 2012

Sounds like apocalypse but this is no dooms day prediction as experts have alerted that in 50 years to come, Lagos risks being washed away by tidal waves. It is the only Nigerian costal city that might go under if nothing serious is done to stop it. Climate Change and the poor environmental attitude of the residents are already assisting this prediction to come true.

Earlier, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) based in France, had, in a study entitled Ranking of the world’s cities most exposed to coastal flooding today and in the future, revealed that Lagos was at risk of being submerged in the next 50 years.

In a Seminar sponsored by the CCDI and Heinrich Boll Foundation in July 4, 2007 shocking statistics unfolded by experts gave hints that Nigeria could lose up to one third of its entire land area over the next 50 years. The doomsday prediction can, however, be averted if appropriate measures are taken to tackle the growing consequences of climate change.

Put in stark terms: Rising sea levels from warming temperatures may see the whole of Lagos, Bayelsa and Rivers states go under water, with the inundation also covering up to half of Cross River and Delta states. And up North, advancing desert climate could render economic activities impossible in vast areas stretching across the region from Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states in the North-West, to Yobe, Borno, Adamawa and Taraba states in the North-East.

Though current estimates on how many people would be adversely affected in such scenario are not available, some studies conducted in 1992 had shown that up to six million people would be displaced by sea level rise of up to two metres alone. But the impact, as several studies showed at a meeting on the extent of the global problem in Lagos, would extend far beyond land losses. Going by experts’ revealing on the issue, the impacts would also include significant threats to the nation’s economic nerve centre in the Niger Delta and large populations of subsistence farmers who would lose farmlands to polluted soils. Also to be expected would be loss of livelihood to fishing communities that would be compelled to relocate from their natural terrain; internal refugee problems from the displacement of large populations from affected areas; as well as worsened poverty levels due to the extent of impact on already poor communities.

But the threat is actually basically global. CCDI’s Kofo Adeleke warned that by the end of this century, temperatures could rise by as much as four degrees Celsius, placing as much as half of the world’s species under threat of extinction.  “Any increase in temperatures that result in a rise in sea levels of above two metres would be clearly unmanageable,” said Dr. Stefan Cramer, of the Lagos-based Heinrich Boll Foundation.

Executive Director, Nigerian Conservative Foundation (NCF), Prof. Emmanuel Obot, said that global warming, arising from the climate change, would precipitate increase in the incidents of drought and flooding. In fact, Lake Chad, hitherto one of the largest lakes in the world has already dried up, due to the increase in global temperatures over the last few decades. The essence of the findings, Obot said, is that it was time Nigeria began paying attention to the emission of carbon-dioxide with a view to reducing levels and encouraging planting of trees.

Rising sea levels have definitely occurred through climate change, which has affected agriculture, fishery, petrol chemical industries and the human habitat. The fears of possible submergence of large portions of the Lagos Ocean front and other segments of Nigeria’s fragile coastline are not new. The occurrence of the first major sustained series of ocean surges in the period 1990-1991 had triggered a fierce debate among the academic community over the likelihood of Victoria Island in particular, going under the surging ocean waves. In subsequent years, huge sums of money have been spent on containing the advancing ocean through sand replenishment measures adopted to re-establish the popular Victoria beach on the Island.

Top among other interventions, she stressed, is the immediate undertaking of a new assessment of impacts of sea level rise on Nigeria’s coastline, in view of new data and future projections released this year by international scientists under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

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